During medieval times, the mace was a weapon of war where warriors in close combat used the heavy head to break the chain mail or body armour of opposing knights. It was also during this period in England, the King’s bodyguards became known as Serjeants-at-Arms and, interestingly, they all carried maces.
The Royal Serjeants-at-Arms were mainly tasked to arrest offenders and to summon subjects to appear before the King. Because the Serjeants were always armed with their personal maces whenever they carried out their royal duties, their maces gradually became regarded as the symbol and warrant of the King’s authority. To distinguish the King’s Serjeants from other common warriors carrying maces, the butts of these maces were stamped with the Royal Coat of Arms.
As few people then could read or write, the maces with the royal coat of arms were sufficient for these people to recognise it as a symbol of the sovereign’s power and authority and the mace bearer as the sovereign’s representative and were to be obeyed accordingly. Over time, the mace became more a symbol of royal authority than a weapon.